Pat Koch smiles when she recalls her son Philip John’s days in drama, while he was a student in the 1983 class at Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, Ind.
Philip, standing 6 feet 4 inches in height, appeared in the school’s production of “Oklahoma” and delivered the line, “I was small once.” The audience roared with laughter. “Philip always said he could deliver a line,” his mother said.
As reported by the Evansville Courier-Press, Philip — who was also the son of the late William A. Koch Sr. — had a serious side as well, as the chief executive officer of HO HO HOldings, LLC, which is the parent company of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, the Santa Claus Christmas Store, Kringle Place Shopping Center and Santa’s Land LLC.
Philip Koch died unexpectedly April 9 at Deaconess Hospital. His wife, Carol, said the cause of death was brain trauma, caused by cardiac arrest.
His death followed that of his brother, Will A. Jr., 48, president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, by accidental drowning in his family’s swimming pool on June 13, 2010.
In a recent interview, Pat Koch — whose efforts to mentor young people and to keep Holiday World wholesome and family-oriented are legendary — described the deaths of her sons as “the town’s biggest losses.”
She said, “Will passed away, and now three years later Philip … It’s impossible to replace that kind of vision that both had.
“Will was more for the continuation of the family legacy of Holiday World.
“Philip was more about the continuation of growing the town.
“Their passion and love for the community stemmed from their grandfather, Louis J. Koch, Santa Claus Land founder, who said, ‘We have to do something for children.’”
Pat Koch said she wants to reassure the public that the Koch family will continue operating and growing Santa Claus.
“I can see my grandchildren, as they get older, stepping in and taking bigger roles,” she said.
Philip Koch was highly regarded in the national campground and recreational vehicle industry for his success in growing Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort into one of the nation’s largest.
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Funeral arrangements have been set for Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort owner Philip Koch, who died Tuesday (April 9) at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Ind.
Visitation will be held at Saint Nicholas Church in Santa Claus, Ind., on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. CDT, and also Friday from 9 a.m. until the service at 10 a.m.
“The Koch family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers from the public during this difficult time,” Dave Lovell, marketing director for HO HO HOldings LLC, stated in a news release.
Koch was president and CEO of HO HO HOldings LLC in Santa Claus, including Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort and the Santa Claus Christmas Store. He was chairman of the Santa Claus Christmas Celebration committee, and a member of the Sons of the American Legion in Santa Claus, Dusty Trails Saddle Club, Southern Indiana Horseman’s Club, the Spencer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, the Indiana Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council and the Indiana Campground Owners Association.
In lieu of flowers, as per Koch’s wishes, please make all donations to the Santa Claus Museum. The family will create an antique historical train room in his honor.
Philip J. Koch, owner and president of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in Santa Claus, Ind., passed away early today (April 9) at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Ind. He was 47. Koch suffered cardiac arrest while in Evansville on April 1.
Born and raised in Santa Claus, Koch attended Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, Ind, graduating in 1983. He attended Purdue University and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management.
Koch was CEO of HO HO Holdings LLC, the parent company of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, the Santa Claus Christmas Store, Kringle Place Shopping Center and Santa’s Land LLC. Under his direction, the RV park grew from a 100-site campground to a 500-site destination resort including over 270 cabins and rental RVs. He helped design the layouts for Lake Rudolph’s King Size Rental RVs and Rudolph’s Christmas Cabins.
Lake Rudolph was voted as a top-10 favorite park nationally in 2011 by readers of Woodall’s Campground Directory. The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) has awarded Lake Rudolph several honors, including the 2004-2005 and 2008-2009 National Large RV Park of the Year. Other awards include the Spencer County, Indiana, Regional Chamber of Commerce 2008 Business of the Year. He was also a member of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association/Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (IMHA/RVIC).
He was passionate about continuing his father’s legacy, the late Bill Koch, to build and promote the tourism industry in Santa Claus.
Koch is survived by his wife, Carol, and two children, Alexa and Logan. He is also survived by his mother, Pat, and siblings Kristi, Dan, and Natalie. His family requests privacy as they mourn. In lieu of flowers, as per Philip’s wishes, please make all donations to the Santa Claus Museum. The family will create an antique historical train room in his honor. Funeral arrangements are pending.